Aston Martin is possibly the best recognised car company that has effectively utilised the silver screen to entrench the desirability of their brand. Yes, James Bond films are always about action, glamour, gadgets, girls and the cars. Whether it is a DB5, DB7 or DBS, Aston Martin and James Bond is a match made in movie heaven.
Many car companies have tried to emulate this success by having their latest and greatest surreptitiously appear in both movies and TV shows. But this has traditionally been the domain of the luxury and prestige brands. Like Jaguar, Aston Martin, BMW and Audi. And who could forget the Mini in the Italian Job?
Well the latest play in this car game has been made by Hyundai. The Santa Fe is about to hit our screens in the very popular channel 7 show, All Saints. The car is used as a Mobile Response Unit that works in conjunction with a helicopter to get people out of hideously awful, scary situations. But wait, there's more. Press your remote to channel 10 and you'll see the evicted contestants from MasterChef being diced away in a Hyundai Grandeur or iMax. Flick back to 7 again and you'll see the Hyundai i30 in and around the program, Thank God You're Here.
But does this make good marketing sense. Are you aware that car companies pay for their cars to be there? Or doesn't it matter? Or do you even notice them?
"Product placement" has been around for years as advertisers look for more creative ways of getting us to notice their products. There are the very obvious ones, like Pearce Brosnan looking at his Omega watch in a Bond film. Or the very cheesy Australian Idol contestants playing with the heavily branded mobile phones. For me, these overt product and brand plugs don't work. I find them annoying. While others I don't mind. I think that it's a natural fit to have very wealthy, sexy spy driving a car that costs in excess of half a million bucks. So for this Aston Martin gets my nod of approval. But then there's Angelina Jolie, aka Mrs Smith, driving a Mercedes wagon. I would have preferred to see her in a 2 door Merc, like a CLK. But maybe I missed the point and this was part of her life as Jane Smith, CEO of her recruitment company, not the sexy assassin!
So for me product placement can work if it makes sense to the TV show or movie I'm watching. As long as the deal that's been done doesn't mandate 30 close ups of the car badge on the bonnet!!